Palestinians must accept Israel for state, ADL poll says

NEW YORK (JTA) — Americans believe the Palestinians must accept Israel before they get a state, according to a new survey.

The Anti-Defamation League’s 2009 Survey of American Attitudes on Israel, The Palestinians and Prospects for Peace in the Middle East, released Monday, also shows that a majority of Americans would back U.S. military action to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Fifty-six percent of the American public believes that a Palestinian state must not be established until the Palestinians display a universal acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy, as well as a firm commitment to ending Palestinian-oriented violence. The opinion represented a 4 percent gain from the last survey, in 2007, and comes despite U.S. government pressure to halt Israel’s settlement construction to make way for a two-state solution.

The survey, conducted Sept. 26-Oct. 4 by Marttila Communications of Washington and Boston, interviewed 1,200 American adults. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.

"This latest survey of the American people, coming at a time of a full range of challenging issues facing Israel and the region, demonstrates a new breadth and depth of American public support for Israel from a variety of perspectives," said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, in a news release.

Fifty-four percent of respondents backed U.S. military action to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program, up from 42 percent.

Foxman noted that it was the first time in the survey that a majority of Americans backed such an option for the United States.

"The significant increase in Americans viewing Iran as a threat and supporting, if nothing else works, U.S. or Israeli military options against Iran, reflect a new and needed sense of urgency about the issue in light of Iran’s oppressive policies and the discovery of a secret Iranian nuclear plant," he said.

Additionally, 67 percent of Americans continue to view Israel as a strong U.S. ally, up from 65 percent in 2007.

Despite Americans’ continued support for Israel, the survey showed that 48 percent of Americans believe “It is up to the Palestinians and the Israelis to solve their own problems; any lasting peace agreement between them must be reached with minimal involvement from the U.S.,” compared with 39 percent who believe that peace will take place only with heavy U.S. involvement.

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